The best mode of teaching a child to walk, is to let it teach itself, and this it will do readily enough. It will first crawl about: this exercises every muscle in the body, does not fatigue the child, throws no weight upon the bones, but imparts vigor and strength, and is thus highly useful. After a while, having the power, it will wish to do more: it will endeavor to lift itself upon its feet by the aid of a chair, and though it may fail again and again in its attempts, it will still persevere until it accomplish it. By this it learns, first, to raise itself from the floor; and secondly, to stand, but not without keeping hold of the object on which it has seized. Next it will balance itself without holding, and will proudly and laughingly show that it can stand alone. Fearful, however, as yet of moving its limbs without support, it will seize a chair or anything else near it, when it will dare to advance as far as the limits of its support will permit. This little adventure will be repeated day after day with increased exultation; when, after numerous trials, he will feel confident of his power to balance himself, and he will run alone. Now time is required for this gradual self-teaching, during which the muscles and bones become strengthened; and when at last called upon to sustain the weight of the body, are fully capable of doing so.
When Can A Baby Walk?
Babies learn to walk at different speeds and accomplish it at different ages. Walking is not only an important developmental milestone, but also a convenience, so many parents are eager to know when their babies can learn to walk and how they (the parents) can help teach them. Babies are different when it comes to walking.
Most babies take their first steps between the age of 9 and 12 months, and are walking confidently by 14 or 15 months. There are many factors at play here:
- Age and developmental stage. When I say that most babies take their first steps at 9-12 months, that’s adjusted age. As many twins are born as preemies, they can take a bit longer.
- Coordination and physical strength are both required, and generally obtained with practice crawling and pulling up on things.
- Environment. The household, the day-to-day activities, and the presence of siblings can all influence how soon babies learn to walk.
- Genetics and personality. The latter was an important factor for our youngest; he’s a happier child and was simply content to stay where he was. He finally began to learn when his older brother was walking and out-raced him to every desirable toy.
How Do You Teach Your Baby to Walk?
Practicing pulling up on things
First it was just a matter of teaching him to pull up on the edge of tables, couches, chairs, or other steady objects. This builds both leg strength and confidence. Eventually they learn to start cruising along these things while holding on. Don’t forget to make sure your home is baby-proof.
Walking with both hands supported
Sometimes I’ll hold both of his arms and encourage him to walk, but that doesn’t always work. He’s just not always into it. When he’s holding onto a wheeled cart or the Vtech baby walker, however, he just loves it. He’ll walk around as long as we’re willing to keep turning the walker around, until his little legs poop out.
Set up a narrow lane for them to walk through (like between the couch and the coffee table), so that he can only move sideways. It’s good practice, but getting them to go along with this scheme isn’t always easy. It works best if you put some of their favorite blocks or snack at the far end to lure him along.
Taking steps unsupported
This is the critical exercise that teaches a toddler to walk. The parents sit or crouch a couple of steps apart, and take turns encouraging them to walk to each other. As they gain confidence, you move a couple steps back. But it’s important never to back away while he’s walking to you. If he expects you to catch him in two steps, don’t let him down.
Push toys that don’t offer support
Once your child has mastered walking independently, he will still needed lots of practice. Encouraged them by giving a toy such as a Fisher Price Corn Popper. It’s colorful and noisy and is sure to keep them entertained.
Final Thoughts: Walking is Over-rated
Unless your baby’s development is way behind the curve, don’t rush this! Every milestone achieved is one less to look forward to, and walking is a big one. At the very least, make sure you have the video camera ready!
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